Monday, May 25, 2015

Arsenal's summer 2015 - who we need to get, keep and get rid off

It's the end of the season in regards of football. Players are all going off on their summer holidays, fans have to console themselves with other sports such as cricket and tennis while clubs are trying to plan for next season by sacking managers and deciding which players to keep.

I know Arsene Wenger or Ivan Gazidis won't be reading this but if they are, this is what you need to do this summer.

Wojciech Szczęsny - keep
David Ospina - keep
Damián Martínez - keep

I like Szczęsny - he grew up at Arsenal and is great in the behind-the-scenes videos on the club website. However he is far from being a world class goalie at the current time. He is still prone to the lapse of judgement which was why Wenger dropped for Ospina in the second half of the season. Yet the Pole has great potential and loves the club. However the club still needs a world class keeper to challenge for the title next season.

The availability of keepers will depend on other clubs. Will Chelsea sell Cech to a title rival? If De Gea goes from Manchester United to Real Madrid, will Casillas be sitting on the bench? Will Pepe Reina continue sitting on the bench at Bayern Munich? If we do get another keeper, we will be able to keep all of them happy?

Right back
Mathieu Debuchy - keep
Hector Bellerin - keep
Carl Jenkinson - sell

Like Szczęsny, Jenkinson is a player I like. He's young, full of potential, vocal and an Arsenal fan. However he has been squeezed out by Debuchy and the form of Bellerin. If we knew how good Bellerin was, Arsenal didn't need to buy Debuchy last summer. Now it seems Jenkinson will be moving on.

Centre back
Per Mertesacker - keep
Laurent Koscielny - keep
Gabriel - keep
Calum Chambers - keep
Isaac Hayden - send out on loan

One of the few areas where there was stability and a lack of injuries. Arsenal may need another back-up centre-back if they push on four fronts.

Left back
Kieran Gibbs - keep
Nacho Monreal - keep

I was surprised on the form of Monreal, that he was so good in replacing Gibbs. It is fortunate that Arsenal are blessed with two quality players in this position.

Central midfield
Mikel Arteta - keep (barely)Jack Wilshere - keep
Aaron Ramsey - keep
Mathieu Flamini - allowed to leave
Abou Diaby - allowed to leave
Francis Coquelin - keep

Require a defensive midfielder

I was surprised Arteta were given a contract to continue his career at the Emirates Stadium. He has hardly featured in the past year but that has been mainly due to injury. I am wondering if he can contribute anything next season. Wilshere has to stay fit and improve, otherwise his place in the team is also under threat. Even with the find of Coquelin as a defensive midfielder, the Gunners need another option. Options include Sami Khedira of Real Madrid, as he will be available on a free transfer, and Bastian Schweinsteiger of Bayern Munich, who has been told he can leave the German giants.

Attacking midfielders
Tomáš Rosický - keep (barely)
Mesut Ozil - keep
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain - keep
Santi Cazorla - keep
Serge Gnabry - keep / send out on loan

Require a winger

Like Arteta, I was surprised Rosicky was allowed to stay on. He's a great servant for the club but his appearances will be rare next season. What Arsenal do lack is width, with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott and Sanchez being the only true wingers in the team. Will Wenger try for Raheem Sterling (please don't).

Lukas Podolski - sell
Olivier Giroud - keep
Theo Walcott - keep
Alexis Sanchez - keep
Yaya Sanogo - sell
Danny Welbeck - keep
Joel Campbell - sell
Ryo Miyaichi - sell
Chuba Akpom - send out on loan

Require a world class striker

It seems Podolski's career is over at Arsenal, which is a pity since he is very likeable, but there will be many suitors for him. Sanogo, Campbell and Miyaichi are all 22 years old and should be playing regular football but I don't see that the Emirates Stadium. Wenger highly rates Akpom but he needs a run of games and it will be probably at a Championship side. Hopefully Walcott and Welbeck will be injury free to contribute more goals. Giroud is a good striker and will contribute 20 goals per season but Arsenal need more. Wenger might play Sanchez in the middle next season but the better option is to find a world class striker to play up front. Klass-Jan Huntelaar is available on a free transfer, Edinson Cavani doesn't seem to be wanted by Paris Saint-Germain and there's the possibility of Jackson Martinez from Porto but they are older than the targets Wenger usually aim for. More realistically Arsenal should aim to get Karim Benzema, since he is being progressively pushed out by the likes of Ronaldo and Rodriguez at Real Madrid.

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